By Stephen Downes
December 29, 2004

If you like music, you'll need this site (or ones like it). Why? See the next link. For those of you who are wondering why I would write about music in a learning technology newsletter: the very same story is being played out in our field. The DRM lock-down of educational content versus the (one-day-to-exist) Ed-Staccato. And if you have any doubt of where my allegiances lie: it's with the latter. By Various Authors, December, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Marketing in Hypermedia Computer-Mediated Environments: Conceptual Foundations
Vin Crosbie summarizes, "Though that title sounds dull, no other work has more influenced my thinking about online. When I came out of UPI, Reuters, and News Corporation in 1994, I couldn't understand why shoveling print content into online (as I had done at Murdoch's Delphi and iGuide projects) didn't lead to online publishing success. This paper explained why. It is indeed a description of the conceptual foundations of online media." What this paper captures, that many subsequent works don't, is the idea of 'flow' in electronic communications. The authors: "the hypermedia CME, of which the World Wide Web on the Internet currently stands as the preeminent prototype, offers a working example of a many-to-many communication model where the consumer is an active participant in an interactive exercise of multiple feedback loops and highly synchronous communication." By Donna L. Hoffman and Thomas P. Novak, Journal of Marketing, July 11, 1995 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

At The Mercy Of The Music Industry
Another DRM horror story - this time a new type of CD that is basically unplayable. And the CDs - which use a protection system called MediaMax - are not identified as such. Slashdot reports: "DRM, digital rights management, is quite possibly the holy grail of the music and movie industry, allowing them to control exactly how DRM protected content is used, distributed and above all can be tracked right down to the individual end user." Quite so. My advice? Stop buying CDs. Get your music over the internet however possible. Wait for someone to write an underground decoder and to convert the files. Make it clear to the music industry: there is no consumer demand for products that don't work. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, December 24, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

iUpload Personal Publisher
As the new year rolls in, some very powerful personal publishing tools are being unveiled, such as the iUpload Personal Publisher, described here by Robin Good. Here is my test blog, made in about 30 seconds (including spell check). The interface is very smooth and fast, and although there's only one template it would be a snap to switch. But you can only customize them a little, and I didn't see any way to create your own. iUpload is a hosted service, like Blogger or Flickr - it's about as easy to use as Blogger, has the photo upload (without all the annoying (and unstable) Flash used by Flickr). Exports RSS feeds of the blogs, the images and the events calendar. The login (to add new posts) is very hard to find. Though it is written in ASP, it's a lot better than MSN Spaces - though be warned, the iuplogbeta.com domain name will probably disappear in a year. At which point your blog will cost you money. By Luigi Canali De Rossi, Robin Good, December 23, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Sakai, and Why I hate Java, Chapter 22
So a note in my discussion area prompted me to try to install Sakai, the open source learning management system. As a result I hate added yet another chapter to my legion of "I hate Java" stories. Everything went fine until I tried to insatll it. I have Java correctly installed, as per the instructions - a JRE (Java Runtime Engine) that I use for Java plugins on websites. Should work, according to the quick-start instructiona. But, of course, it doesn't. The first sign of trouble: "Unable to locate tools.jar. Expected to find it in /usr/lib/SunJava2-1.4.2/lib/t ools.jar" And when it ultimately died: "JAVA_HOME should point to a JDK not a JRE." Sheesh. I spent more time trying to install the Java SDK, which had the net effect of disabling my JRE, so now nothing works. In all fairness, this is a Tomcat bug, not a Sakai one. And I may have been the only person ever to try to run it with nothing but a JRE. Still. My point is that this is typical of Java - the rule, not the exception. And that - Chapter 22 - is why I hate Java. By contrast - I picked up a Python text in Ottawa, found it was already installed, installed and ran IDLE (the editor) without a problem, ran various programs - everything works beautifully and you don't need to worry about having the x.y.z version of the thing. Sakai? Python. QED. By Stephen Downes, Stephen's Web, December 29, 2004 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2004 Stephen Downes
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